The con appears to be on for residents and merchants in the East Village. During the past week, there have been reports of at least three grifters trying to talk their way into getting money from locals.
Last weekend, a man described as a heavy-set Hispanic male in his 30s or 40s was believed to have been impersonating a Vons employee while trying to obtain bus fare because his truck had allegedly broken down.
“I gave him two bucks,” said an employee at a restaurant. “He promised to come back later in the day to pick up his truck and give me back the money. I figured it was a con when he didn’t come back.”
Another man, described as a short, stocky African-American male in his 40s or 50s, frequented some food establishments with a story of how he or someone he knew got sick from the food. It was believed that he was also pretending to be an employee from a nearby business as he wore a uniform with a “General Manager” nameplate. Though he had no receipt to show the proprietors, he threatened to contact the health department if he wasn’t given a cash refund or more food.
Then, on May 26, a man described as a tall African-American man in his 30s or 40s solicited merchants and baseball fans, trying to get money for bus fare to Carlsbad from downtown. According to him, his car had broken down on the Coronado bridge and he left his wallet at a hotel in Carlsbad.
“The guy was pretty hammered,” said another local. “First he asked for money to take the bus, and then he changed his story to needing money for gas. It didn’t add up: the bus didn’t run that late, and if his car had broken down, it wouldn’t go anywhere even if it had gas.”
During a call to the non-emergency police line, a dispatcher declined to reveal if they have fielded any other complaints from downtown residents regarding small-time cons.